Chronicle of Naturefriends International

March 1895
Georg Schmiedl, a socialist, free thinker and teacher, places a notice in the Vienna newspaper "Wiener Arbeiter-Zeitung", inviting nature enthusiasts to found a touristic group. Approximately 30 interested persons react, amongst them Alois Rohrauer and Karl Renner.
During the first assembly on 28 March, Alois Rohrauer together with Anton Kreutzer and Leopold Happisch are appointed to the founding committee. 

14 April 1895
The first excursion of the association takes place with 62 participants. 

15 July 1897
The first issue of the association's journal "Der Naturfreund", founded by Leopold Happisch, is published with a circulation of 400 copies. 

14 January 1900
At the inaugural meeting of the local group in Graz, Naturefriend Alois Schnepf brings forward the proposal to use the greeting "Berg Frei" as slogan for all groups in Styria. This Naturefriends greeting is taken over by the central group in Vienna as a symbol of recognition of the organisation. 

17 December 1900
The first Naturefriends clubhouse is opened in the Vienna district "Fünfhaus", on Löhrgasse. 

2 July 1905
With the aid of Ferdinand Bednarz, one of the torchbearers of the Naturefriends notion, the first Swiss local group is founded in Zurich.

4 August 1905
42 people take part in the inaugural meeting of the first local Naturefriends group in Germany, in Munich. 

12 August 1907
The first Naturefriends house is inaugurated on Padasterjoch in the Stubai Alps, cheered on by 5,000 guests. 

1914 - 1918
During World War I, there is little news to be heard from Naturefriends' organisational life. In 1918, the distribution of the issue 7/8 of the journal "Der Naturfreund" is prohibited in Germany, as this issue published the 35th list of casualties of members, including 1,000 victims of war. 

Alois Rohrauer hands over the chairmanship of the Naturefriends movement, which counts more than 75,000 members at this point, to Karl Volkert.

The Naturefriends movement already boasts 138,400 members. The largest number of Naturefriends are Austrians and Germans, but local groups are also growing in Switzerland, Yugoslavia, Hungary, the US (video by NF Los Angeles from the 1930s), England, France, Norway, Romania, Bulgaria, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. 

Following the sudden demise of Karl Volkert, Paul Richter takes over the presidency of the global Naturefriends organisation. 

21 March 1931
The headquarters of the global organisation "Die Naturfreunde" is inaugurated in Diefenbachgasse 36 in Vienna. 

The organisation has 214,924 members and 428 houses.

The German Naturefriends group, "Reichsgruppe Deutschland der Naturfreunde", is dissolved by the Hitler regime; its 231 houses are seized. 

14 February 1934
During the time of Austrofascism, the Austrian Naturefriends are likewise prohibited, their president Paul Richter is imprisoned for nine months. 
Thanks to the strong solidarity of the Swiss Naturefriends that mindfully took charge of the global organisation in these difficult circumstances, the international Naturefriends organisation is kept alive through these times of Fascism and World War II.

The headquarters of the Naturefriends movement is relocated to Switzerland, Ernst Moser becomes president in these very difficult times. 

1938 - 1943
Following further prohibitions in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Hungary, only the national associations in Switzerland and America remain active. 

In the regions that are freed from the Hitler dictatorship, Naturefriends quickly reassemble, especially because old ties had often not broken off. The Naturefriends central committee in Zurich requests the restitution of the Naturefriends houses from the Allies in Germany.

At the conference of the presidents and chairpersons in Zurich, the German Naturefriends are readmitted to the international Naturefriends community.

The XIV General Assembly in Celerina becomes the Ist Congress of Naturefriends International. The Congress passes a resolution on a restructuring of the organisation, which now consists of a Congress, a main committee and a central committee and independent national organisations.

Theo Wanner becomes president of NFI.

Erwin Schneider takes over the NFI presidency. From the beginning of the 70s, ever-increasing importance is attached to the protection of the environment in the work programme of Naturefriends International. 

Dr. Karl Rainer becomes president of NFI.
During his presidency, the decision is taken to transfer NFI's headquarters to Vienna. 
Dr. Gerald Mader succeeds Dr. Karl Rainer. He actively promotes the eastward expansion of the Naturefriends family in these times of political upheaval in Europe. 
Herbert Brückner becomes the sixth president of Naturefriends International. Chaired by this committed environmentalist, NFI consolidates its reputation as large European environmental organisation that assumes responsibility for global partnerships in the environmental field beyond Europe's borders.
NFI's long-standing secretary general, Manfred Pils, is elected president by the XX Congress of Naturefriends International. In his inaugural speech, he places sustainability at centre-stage, both for NFI's activities and as political demand.